Finances for artistes, baby

This is something I will get John P, music scorer and business brain to comment on. It is the necessary and vital part of registering a company – what the requirements are, and what ordinary Joe and Joe-ess Schmoe need to know about should they wish to run a project like this.

Mr McDuck

Before I do this, when thinking about getting together a creative team to make Super Awesome Mega Battle Tank, I wanted a structure that would return the inevitably mountain of riches only an amateur, free-to-view internet movie would return to those that contributed to it.

John has registered the company as the Super Awesome Company Ltd, and my plan was to make everyone a shareholder with a pool of unallocated shares to distribute to others co-opted at a later date, and to leave the company with a certain number unallocated so there is a resting sum of money that can be used for sundry expenses as the thing spirals out of control into the Internet’s version of Waterworld.

Part of the issue I have is whether to allocate everything on a pure per head basis and we split any revenue even stevens, or whether those that come up with designs, music, writings etc that are more likely to earn money, should receive a higher percentage of those earnings than those people that may help out in ways that don’t generate dosh. As an example, perhaps those that are helping generate income get a few extra shares to compensate for this. I must stress that this isn’t in the expectation of actually earning much, but I am thinking ahead a bit.

I was talking to David Long, former guitarist for the former Muttonbirds, about this, and he says many a band has hit rocky times because the music writers who got publishing rights and the subsequent revenues, had an income out of all proportion to other band members with the subsequent ill feeling that can go with that. I think a proportionality of shares goes some ways to rewarding the creativity and work of people, but also recognises that moviemaking in particular, is hugely collaborative effort and nothing gets done without the team. There is a bit of thinking out loud here nd I would be interested in comments.

Have a good Queen’s Birthday Weekend. God save Her.

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One response to “Finances for artistes, baby

  1. Scrooge McJohn

    I think it is a great shame the feudal system is out of favour, actually. Especially as it used to work quite well in movie studios up until the 1930s. However, in the absence of a halfway-decent serfdom these days, we must provide a mechanism apart from prodding with glowing red-hot irons to make non-creative workhands earn their place on earth. This used to be called socialism but, not satisfied with sucking the very lifeblood from those rare creative souls who keep the world spinning with their sparkling ideas and vision, we must now pretend that workers partially deserve some OWNERSHIP of the process. Pah! This, one supposes, is why drummers (who, let’s face it, just hit things more or less in time) feel they deserve royalties! Ridiculous concept.

    Nevertheless, if we are to drag this enterprise kicking and screaming into the eighteenth century, so be it. But those peasants who suddenly find themselves being apportioned shares in the glorious march of capitalism need to be aware that these carry fearsome responsibilities as well as the promise of endless wealth. You, as a shareholder, also take on the gigantic burden of debt that a company may carry; and you may, perchance, be asked to stump up at least the face value of the capital you are so wantonly prepared to flaunt as evidence of your entree to the echelons of nouveau riche … this currently equates to $1, but may soon be proportionate to the glittering plutonium reserves of the moons of Azkaboobium (especially if Bill and I keep holding directors’ lunches at Pravda).

    Did I mention what a good idea the concept of feudal droit de signeur was? Ruddy magna carta. All downhill since then. Where’s my cigar?

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